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Published June 08 2010

Early voter turnout light

FARGO – Election judge Sheryl McIntyre was going through yarn much faster than ballots at the Fargodome this morning.

“Nice and quiet,” she joked, knitting a green sweater for her granddaughter as she waited for the next voter to walk through the doors.

Voter turnout was light in Fargo this morning, despite a full slate of candidates for contested city, school and park board seats.

Polls opened at 7 a.m., and the Fargo Civic Center saw just 13 voters in the first hour. The Doublewood Inn had 27 by 8:30 a.m., and the dome had only 17 voters by 9 a.m.

“My nasty side says voter apathy,” said Martha Ber-ryhill, the election inspector at the dome, trying to explain the poor turnout.

Or, she said, people could be happy with the way things are.

“But you still have to come and vote for the incumbents,” she added.

Dick Block, a retired military veteran, said the unfavorable atmosphere for incumbents nationally factored into his picks for local offices.

“I just felt there should be maybe some new blood in there, that’s all, especially when it comes to the property tax issues,” he said.

One of the few hotspots was Trollwood Village, where 114 voters had made their picks by 9:20 a.m.

“We’ve been steady,” election inspector Carolyn Monzingo said, adding the higher turnout was partly due to Trollwood residents voting early.

Voter Steve Hanson said he was most interested in the school board race, which has nine candidates for five open seats.

“I think they need to control their spending,” said Hanson, who works for a local concert promoter. “I’d like the city to be able to vote before new schools are built.”

More than 2,100 people cast ballots last week during early voting at the Doublewood Inn and West Fargo City Hall.